To the Coatesville (Pa.) Area Senior High coaching staff, incoming ninth-grader Tyler Burke seemed “destined” to be the school’s quarterback of the future. Until he suited up for the Red Raiders’ freshman team at linebacker.
“We just saw how aggressive he was on defense, being all over the field as a freshman,” said Coatesville coach Matt Ortega, who elevated Burke to the varsity squad as a sophomore. “You could tell he had a mean streak in him when he played the game. Off the field, he was calm. When he played football, he did some things that we saw as coaches that turned the light switch on. When he plays, he plays very aggressively.”
Burke, who also plays tight end for Coatesville, will stick with defense when he joins the Maryland football team next summer. The rising senior committed to the Terps on Tuesday, picking Randy Edsall’s program over Boston College, Connecticut, Massachusetts, North Carolina State, Pittsburgh, Rutgers, Syracuse, Temple and Wisconsin, according to Rivals.com.
“His recruitment was a little different,” Ortega said. “He had a ton of offers. He didn’t really visit schools like I really would have liked him to. He kept it real close to home with the schools he was looking at. He really didn’t want to travel outside two or three hours. He didn’t visit probably 70 percent of the schools that offered him. In his mind, it was clear he wanted to stay close to home.”
A 6-foot-3, 245-pound middle linebacker, Burke was “instrumental” in leading Coatesville to a runner-up finish in Pennsylvania’s Class AAAA football playoffs. A three-star prospect, Burke is ranked the No. 37 prospect in Pennsylvania by 247Sports.com.
Some scouting services project Burke to be a linebacker in college, while others envision him as a defensive end. Either way, Ortega thinks Burke makes sense for what Maryland wants to do defensively.
“I think he fits their defense,” Ortega said. “He fits in the 3-4. That’s where they’re going to start him at. I think it’s wide open where he’ll eventually be in college. He’s young, just turned 17. He’s a pup. He’s young and has got a lot of developing to do with his body. He could be a linebacker or a defensive lineman, depending on how he matures the next couple of years.”